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Discourses and Framings of Climate Change: What Literatures Do We Need to Review? Karen OBrien, Department of Sociology and Human Geography University.

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Presentation on theme: "Discourses and Framings of Climate Change: What Literatures Do We Need to Review? Karen OBrien, Department of Sociology and Human Geography University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Discourses and Framings of Climate Change: What Literatures Do We Need to Review? Karen OBrien, Department of Sociology and Human Geography University of Oslo, Norway

2 The Objectives of SREX: To promote understanding of the vulnerability to and impacts of climate change, current and future climate variability and extreme events, and the implications for sustainable development. To collect and analyze information on adaptation actions and advances towards integrating disaster risk reduction strategies and climate change adaptation into national policies and programs. To prepare a comprehensive assessment of the guides, frameworks, and tools used by various institutions, organizations, and communities to build the capacity for reducing vulnerability and risk to develop early warning systems; to strengthen community capacity and social resilience, particularly among the most vulnerable; to improve construction practices; and to establish preparedness to respond to inevitable climate impacts.

3 SREX Focus

4 Outline The importance of framings in the SREX (limiting versus inclusive, narrow versus comprehensive); The role of discourses (different approaches to understanding disaster risk management and climate change adaptation); Which literatures are we including in the assessment? And what are we excluding?

5 Framings Create boundariesInfluence the questions asked Structure our knowledge Limit assessment Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)

6 Framings Frameworks Risk management frameworks Social vulnerability frameworks Adaptation frameworks Pressure and release frameworks Sustainable livelihoods frameworks etc.

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9 The Pressure and Release (PAR) model Source: Source: according to Wisner et al. 2004: 51

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11 Frameworks are often associated with different discourses (which can reflect different ways of seeing and understanding the world)

12 Discourses A shared way of apprehending the world. (Dryzek 1997) an area of language use expressing a particular standpoint and related to a certain set of institutions. Concerned with a limited range of objects, a discourse emphasizes some concepts at the expense of others. (Peet and Watts 2001) the process through which social reality inevitably comes into being. (Escobar 1996)

13 Why do discourses matter? Through discourses we interpret what certain phrases mean, control how they are used, frame the questions that are asked, and identify the methods and types of analysis that are prioritized. More importantly, discourses influence the solutions that are prescribed. All discourses are not equal; some have more power and influence, and are institutionally embedded.

14 The same language is often used across discourses, hiding different interpretations and assumptions; Examples: disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation How are these concepts interpreted and operationalized within a global managerial discourse, economic rationalism discourse, ecological modernization discourse, social vulnerability discourse, and so on?

15 Approaches to disaster risk reduction Reduction of exposure (early warning systems; changed building requirements; flood management strategies) vs. Reduction of social vulnerability (enhancing social networks, increase burden sharing; promoting gender equity);

16 Approaches to climate change adaptation Adapt to specific climate scenarios and impacts (identify institutional, technological, and managerial responses to climate change impacts) vs. Enhance societys capacity to adapt to variability and uncertainty (reduce social vulnerability, enhance human agency, promote resilience and adaptive management)

17 What are the assumptions embedded in research, and in our assessment of research?

18 Questions for SREX: Are we assessing literature from within one framework, or using different approaches and frameworks? (Risk management framework? Social vulnerability framework?) How can we include and integrate multiple perspectives, representing different discourses, approaches, methodologies? Are we leaving out important literatures? (Cultural and religious dimensions; psychological implications and consequences; legal and ethical aspects; behavioral psychology; and so on). How do we bring in context-specific factors? (e.g. literatures that are relevant to Asia)

19 What literatures do we need to review? Those those that help us understand how systems, behaviors, cultures and individual experiences are affected by climate change and extreme events.


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